Life is uncertain, eat dessert first. While we agree that life is better with moments of sweet indulgences, here at the Chalkboard we’re always on the look out for the healthiest ways to be naughty.
The issue: Refined sugar is on the nutrition blacklist, and for good reason. Refined sugar is void of all nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and causes a rise in our blood sugar when consumed. This can lead to hormone imbalance and weight gain, as well as an increased risk for heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes. In addition, refined sugar has been linked to hyperactivity in children, making it a key factor in attention deficit disorder (ADD). The final reason why we are so adamant about eliminating refined sugar from our diet is because of the research being conducted on its relationship to cancer growth. Studies postulate that sugar can be used by cancer cells as fuel, therefore promoting cancerous growth in the body. While the findings are preliminary, we believe it is best to err on the side of caution by looking for healthier alternatives.
The Solution: With the world at our fingertips, we’ve had the fortune to come across more than just one amazing substitute for refined sugar. We’ve put together a list our favorites, from liquids to powders, that will easily sweeten your smoothies, raw desserts, and gluten-free baked goods.
5 Natural Sweeteners to Replace Refined Sugar
- Yacon Syrup
Yacon is a South American tuber that resembles the potato, but tastes much more like an apple. It’s the perfect sweetener for those with blood-sugar issues since it is a low-glycemic food and has a high concentration of indigestible inulin, which slows down its rate of digestion. Yacon syrup is best used for sauces, dressings and desserts.
TCM loves: Yacon Syrup by Navitas Naturals
- Grade B Maple Syrup
Grade B maple syrup is not only the ideal sweetener for baked goods and food bars, but it is the best choice for those looking to cut calories. Maple syrup is just as sweet as its sugar counterpart, but is lower in calories, and contains high levels of zinc. Zinc is critical to the immune system, and zinc deficiency can lead to chronic infections and poor wound healing time. In addition, zinc has been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, unlike refined sugar, which promotes it. Always choose grade B over grade A, since grade B has a higher mineral content.
Since molasses is not stripped of its nutrients, it is a beneficial food for the body. It is a great source of iron, which helps to improve energy, and is rich in vegan-based calcium. In addition, it contains the hard-to-find minerals copper and manganese, as well as the heart-healthy minerals potassium and magnesium.
- Luo Han Guo
Luo Han Guo, also known as sweetfruit, is a Chinese tonic herb that is 300 times sweeter than refined sugar. It contains the immune-stimulating component saponin, making it a beneficial additive to any tea, smoothie or juice. In addition, it is classically used as a lung tonic, aiding in conditions such as asthma and respiratory congestion.
TCM loves: Dragon Herbs Sweetfruit Drops
Lucuma is a delicious fruit, native to the Andes, that has been enjoyed for thousands of years for its nutritional content, as well as its creamy flavor. Lucuma contains a healthy dose of fiber, vitamins and minerals, and is especially high in beta carotene, iron and niacin (vitamin B3). Lucuma is an excellent addition to smoothies, ice cream and other raw desserts.
TCM loves: Navitas Naturals Lucuma Powder